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CEA-Leti & Dolphin Design Report FD-SOI Breakthrough that Boosts Operating Frequency by 450% and Reduces Power Consumption by 30%: Joint Paper Presented at ISSCC 2021 Shows How New Adaptive Back-Biasing Technique Overcomes Integration Limits in Chip Design Flows

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Home > Press > CEA-Leti & Dolphin Design Report FD-SOI Breakthrough that Boosts Operating Frequency by 450% and Reduces Power Consumption by 30%: Joint Paper Presented at ISSCC 2021 Shows How New Adaptive Back-Biasing Technique Overcomes Integration Limits in Chip Design Flows

Abstract:
CEA-Leti and Dolphin Design have developed an adaptive back-biasing (ABB) architecture for FD-SOI chips that can be seamlessly integrated in the digital design flow with industrial-grade qualification, overcoming integration drawbacks of existing ABB techniques.

CEA-Leti & Dolphin Design Report FD-SOI Breakthrough that Boosts Operating Frequency by 450% and Reduces Power Consumption by 30%: Joint Paper Presented at ISSCC 2021 Shows How New Adaptive Back-Biasing Technique Overcomes Integration Limits in Chip Design Flows


Grenoble, France | Posted on February 23rd, 2021

Fully Depleted Silicon on Insulator (FD-SOI) is a technology that allows the biasing of the transistor’s body that acts as a back gate. Unlike conventional bulk technology, FD-SOI enables a wide voltage range of the body bias. This permits compensating for process, voltage, and temperature (PVT) variations by controlling the threshold voltage. For example, in switch operations, when the switch is on, the body bias is changed to reduce the on-resistance by reducing threshold voltage and allowing more current to pass. That accelerates the circuit. In the off state, the body bias is changed to raise the off-resistance by increasing the threshold voltage, consequently reducing the leakage current. This shows that FD-SOI technology can be used either to accelerate the design or reduce the leakage power.

Presented in a paper at ISSCC 2021, the new ABB technique also allows the application design to maintain a targeted operating frequency over a wide range of operating conditions such as temperature, manufacturing variability and supply voltage. The architecture enables reducing energy consumption of processors in 22nm FD-SOI technology by up to 30 percent and increasing the operating frequency up to 450 percent compared to a technique in which body biased technique is not used. It also improves the manufacturing yield.

“The ABB development is a breakthrough for FD-SOI technology because it shows the first-ever results depicting the enhancement in the circuit performance after using ABB, and it will help increase performances and yields in FD-SOI designs,” said Gaël Pillonnet, a CEA-Leti scientist and an author of the paper, “A 0.021 mm² PVT-Aware Digital-Flow-Compatible Adaptive Back-Biasing Regulator with Scalable Drivers Achieving 450% Frequency Boosting and 30% Power Reduction in 22nm FD-SOI Technology.”

The ABB is being commercialized by Dolphin Design, a leading French company in modular and energy-efficient IPs, platforms and systems on chips (SoC). It is based on CEA-Leti’s proof of concept that was improved and industrialized by Dolphin Design, underscoring the institute’s fruitful collaborations with its industrial partners and its commitment to transferring innovative designs to industry.

“The performances of our ABB IP are state of the art and show the compensation of the variations across process-voltage-temperature (PVT) conditions on a representative number of samples, enabling the usage of this solution in industrial products,” said Andrea Bonzo, IP program manager at Dolphin Design. “Previous efforts in this technique have reported only limited numbers of chips that perform as intended. With our technique, a large number of chips are shown to work properly. ABB is versatile and can be used to drive a large digital area without any limitation for any FD-SOI technology.”

According to the paper, “the well-known adaptive back-biasing (ABB) technique has already shown its capability to reduce power consumption or/and maintain operating frequency by compensating VTH variability according to process corners and temperature. However, previously published ABB architectures provide a limited overview on how to integrate the ABB seamlessly in the digital design flow with industrial-grade qualification. We propose a reusable ABB-IP for any biased digital load, from 0.4-100 mm², with low-area and power overhead, e.g. 1.2% @ 2 mm² and 0.4% @ 10 mm², respectively.”

With this new architecture, the ABB area is relatively small compared to the application design, and in both area and power it allows the application design to maintain its targeted speed (frequency) with a relatively low overhead.

####

About CEA Leti
Leti, a technology research institute at CEA, is a global leader in miniaturization technologies enabling smart, energy-efficient and secure solutions for industry. Founded in 1967, CEA-Leti pioneers micro-& nanotechnologies, tailoring differentiating applicative solutions for global companies, SMEs and startups. CEA-Leti tackles critical challenges in healthcare, energy and digital migration. From sensors to data processing and computing solutions, CEA-Leti’s multidisciplinary teams deliver solid expertise, leveraging world-class pre-industrialization facilities. With a staff of more than 1,900, a portfolio of 3,100 patents, 10,000 sq. meters of cleanroom space and a clear IP policy, the institute is based in Grenoble, France, and has offices in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. CEA-Leti has launched 65 startups and is a member of the Carnot Institutes network. Follow us on www.leti-cea.com and @CEA_Leti.

Technological expertise

CEA has a key role in transferring scientific knowledge and innovation from research to industry. This high-level technological research is carried out in particular in electronic and integrated systems, from microscale to nanoscale. It has a wide range of industrial applications in the fields of transport, health, safety and telecommunications, contributing to the creation of high-quality and competitive products.

For more information: www.cea.fr/english

About Dolphin Design

Headquartered in France, Dolphin Design, previously known as Dolphin Integration, is a semiconductor company employing 160 people, including 140 highly qualified engineers.

They provide differentiating platform solutions built on state-of-the-art IPs and architectures, customized by unique system level utilities to deliver fast and secure ASICs, either designed by or for their clients. These platforms are available for various technological processes and optimized for Energy Efficient SoC Design.

Alongside their clients, now exceeding 500 companies, they focus on human, inventive and long-term collaboration to enable them to bring products, powered by innovative and accessible integrated circuits that minimize environmental impact, to the hands of billions of people every day. In consumer markets including IoT, AI and 5G, and in high reliability markets, they unleash SoC designer creativity to deliver differentiation.

For more information: www.dolphin-design.fr

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Press Contact CEA-Leti

Agency

+33 6 74 93 23 47

Press Contact Dolphin Design

Aurélie Descombes

+33 4 80 42 07 20

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A general approach to high-efficiency perovskite solar cells

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Home > Press > A general approach to high-efficiency perovskite solar cells

Researchers from the Institute for Applied Physics (IAP) and the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed) at TU Dresden developed a general methodology for the reproducible fabrication of high efficiency perovskite solar cells. Their study has been published in the renowned journal Nature Communications. CREDIT
Christiane Kunath
Researchers from the Institute for Applied Physics (IAP) and the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed) at TU Dresden developed a general methodology for the reproducible fabrication of high efficiency perovskite solar cells. Their study has been published in the renowned journal Nature Communications. CREDIT
Christiane Kunath

Abstract:
Perovskites, a class of materials first reported in the early 19th century, were “re-discovered” in 2009 as a possible candidate for power generation via their use in solar cells. Since then, they have taken the photovoltaic (PV) research community by storm, reaching new record efficiencies at an unprecedented pace. This improvement has been so rapid that by 2021, barely more than a decade of research later, they are already achieving performance similar to conventional silicon devices. What makes perovskites especially promising is the manner in which they can be created. Where silicon-based devices are heavy and require high temperatures for fabrication, perovskite devices can be lightweight and formed with minimal energy investiture. It is this combination – high performance and facile fabrication – which has excited the research community.

A general approach to high-efficiency perovskite solar cells


Dresden, Germany | Posted on April 1st, 2021

As the performance of perovskite photovoltaics rocketed upward, left behind were some of the supporting developments needed to make a commercially viable technology. One issue that continues to plague perovskite development is device reproducibility. While some PV devices can be made with the desired level of performance, others made in the exact same manner often have significantly lower efficiencies, puzzling and frustrating the research community.

Recently, researchers from the Emerging Electronic Technologies Group of Prof. Yana Vaynzof have identified that fundamental processes that occur during the perovskite film formation strongly influence the reproducibility of the photovoltaic devices. When depositing the perovskite layer from solution, an antisolvent is dripped onto the perovskite solution to trigger its crystallization. “We found that the duration for which the perovskite was exposed to the antisolvent had a dramatic impact on the final device performance, a variable which had, until now, gone unnoticed in the field.” says Dr. Alexander Taylor, a postdoctoral research associate in the Vaynzof group and the first author on the study. “This is related to the fact that certain antisolvents may at least partly dissolve the precursors of the perovskite layer, thus altering its final composition. Additionally, the miscibility of antisolvents with the perovskite solution solvents influences their efficacy in triggering crystallization.”

These results reveal that, as researchers fabricate their PV devices, differences in this antisolvent step could cause the observed irreproducibility in performance. Going further, the authors tested a wide range of potential antisolvents, and showed that by controlling for these phenomena, they could obtain cutting-edge performance from nearly every candidate tested. “By identifying the key antisolvent characteristics that influence the quality of the perovskite active layers, we are also able to predict the optimal processing for new antisolvents, thus eliminating the need for the tedious trial-and-error optimization so common in the field.” adds Dr. Fabian Paulus, leader of the Transport in Hybrid Materials Group at cfaed and a contributor to the study.

“Another important aspect of our study is the fact that we demonstrate how an optimal application of an antisolvent can significantly widen the processibility window of perovskite photovoltaic devices” notes Prof. Vaynzof, who led the work. “Our results offer the perovskite research community valuable insights necessary for the advancement of this promising technology into a commercial product.”

####

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49-351-463-42132

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The results were published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

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Plasmon-coupled gold nanoparticles useful for thermal history sensing

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Home > Press > Plasmon-coupled gold nanoparticles useful for thermal history sensing

Peak wavelength of the polarized optical extinction spectrum as a function of the recovery temperature, showing the temperature-dependent behavior that can be applied for optical thermal-history sensors. Image credit: Mehedi H. Rizvi.
Peak wavelength of the polarized optical extinction spectrum as a function of the recovery temperature, showing the temperature-dependent behavior that can be applied for optical thermal-history sensors. Image credit: Mehedi H. Rizvi.

Abstract:
Researchers have demonstrated that stretching shape-memory polymers embedded with clusters of gold nanoparticles alters their plasmon-coupling, giving rise to desirable optical properties. One potential application for the material is a sensor that relies on optical properties to track an object or environment’s thermal history.

Plasmon-coupled gold nanoparticles useful for thermal history sensing


Durham, NC | Posted on April 1st, 2021

At issue is a stretchable polymer embedded with gold nanospheres. If the material is heated and stretched, followed by cooling to room temperature, the material will hold its stretched shape indefinitely. Once reheated to 120 degrees Celsius, the material returns to its original shape.

But what’s really interesting is that the gold nanospheres are not perfectly dispersed in the polymer. Instead, they form clusters, in which their surface plasmon resonances are coupled. These plasmon-coupled nanoparticles have optical properties that shift depending on how close they are to each other, which changes when stretching alters the shape of the composite.

“When assessing the peak wavelength of light absorbed by the material, there are significant differences depending on whether the light is polarized parallel or perpendicular to the stretching direction,” says Joe Tracy, corresponding author of a paper on the work and a professor of materials science and engineering at NC State. “For light polarized parallel to the direction of stretching, the further you have stretched the material, the further the light absorbed shifts to the red. For light polarized perpendicular to the stretching direction there is a blueshift.”

“We also found that, while the shape-memory polymer holds its shape at room temperature, it recovers its original shape in a predictable way, depending on the temperature it is exposed to,” says Tobias Kraus, co-author of the paper, a group leader at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials and a professor at Saarland University.

Specifically, once stretched 140% past its original length, you can determine the highest temperature to which the polymer is then exposed, up to 120 degrees Celsius, by measuring how much it has shrunk back toward its original size. What’s more, because of the plasmon-coupled nanoparticles, this change can be measured indirectly, through measurements of the material’s optical properties.

“From a practical perspective, this allows you to create an optical thermal-history sensor,” Joe Tracy says. “You can use light to see how hot the material got. An important application of thermal-history sensors is assuring the quality or safety of shipping or storing materials that are sensitive to significant changes in heat. We have demonstrated an approach based on plasmon coupling of gold nanoparticles.”

The sensor concept was developed empirically, but the researchers also used computational modeling to better understand the structure of the clusters of gold nanospheres and how the clusters changed during stretching. The strength of plasmon coupling is related to the spacings between nanospheres, which is known as a “plasmon ruler.”

“Based on our simulations, we can estimate the distance between plasmon-coupled nanoparticles from their optical properties,” says Amy Oldenburg, co-author of the paper and a professor of physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “This comparison is informative for designing future polymer nanocomposites based on plasmon-coupled nanoparticles.”

####

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@NCStateNews

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The paper, “Plasmon-Coupled Gold Nanoparticles in Stretched Shape-Memory Polymers for Mechanical/Thermal Sensing,” appears in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials. First author of the paper is Prachi Yadav, a former graduate student at NC State. The paper was co-authored by Mehedi Rizvi, Sumeet Mishra, Brian Chapman and Brian Lynch of NC State; and Björn Kuttich of the Leibniz Institute for New Materials.

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Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Releases Variable Magnetic Field Module accessory for Jupiter XR, Large Sample Atomic Force Microscope

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Home > Press > Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Releases Variable Magnetic Field Module accessory for Jupiter XR, Large Sample Atomic Force Microscope

Abstract:
Oxford Instruments Asylum Research announces the release of the Variable Field Module (VFM) accessory for the Jupiter XR atomic force microscope (AFM). The adjustable magnetic field enabled by the VFM accessory is useful for applications such as imaging the domain reversal behaviour of ferromagnetic thin films, studying magnetic field dependent resistance in sensor devices, or imaging magnetic particles. This Asylum Research exclusive accessory can be configured for the magnetic field to be applied either in-plane with the sample or out-of-plane. “The VFM accessory is unique to Asylum Research AFMs and will enable researchers to increase their knowledge of ferromagnetic and piezoelectric materials,” commented Dr. Jason Li, Applications Scientist manager at Oxford Instruments Asylum Research.

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Releases Variable Magnetic Field Module accessory for Jupiter XR, Large Sample Atomic Force Microscope


Santa Barbara, CA | Posted on March 26th, 2021

Asylum Research AFMs are widely used across many different industrial and academic research fields including energy storage, polymers, semiconductors and 2D materials. The Jupiter XR is a large-sample AFM that can accommodate samples up to 200 millimeters in diameter and inspect areas up to 100×100 microns while still delivering ultra-high resolution and high throughput, with typical images requiring 1 minute to acquire.

– End –

Issued for and on behalf of Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Inc.

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About Oxford Instruments Asylum Research
Oxford Instruments Asylum Research is the technology leader in atomic force microscopy for both materials and bioscience research. Asylum Research AFMs are widely used by both academic and industrial researchers for characterizing samples from diverse fields spanning material science, polymers, thin films, energy research, and biophysics. In addition to routine imaging of sample topography and roughness, Asylum Research AFMs also offer unmatched resolution and quantitative measurement capability for nanoelectrical, nanomechanical and electromechanical characterization. Recent advances have made these measurements far simpler and more automated for increased consistency and productivity. Its Cypher™, MFP-3D™, and Jupiter™ AFM product lines span a wide range of performance and budgets. Asylum Research also offers a comprehensive selection of AFM probes, accessories, and consumables. Sales, applications and service offices are located in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, France, India, China and Taiwan, with distributor offices in other global regions.

About Oxford Instruments plc

Oxford Instruments designs, supplies and supports high-technology tools and systems with a focus on research and industrial applications. Innovation has been the driving force behind Oxford Instruments’ growth and success for 60 years, supporting its core purpose to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

The first technology business to be spun out from Oxford University, Oxford Instruments is now a global company and is listed on the FTSE250 index of the London Stock Exchange (OXIG). Its strategy focuses on being a customer-centric, market-focused Group, understanding the technical and commercial challenges faced by its customers. Key market segments include Semiconductor & Communications, Advanced Materials, Healthcare & Life Science, and Quantum Technology.

Their portfolio includes a range of core technologies in areas such as low temperature and high magnetic field environments; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; X-ray, electron, laser and optical based metrology; atomic force microscopy; optical imaging; and advanced growth, deposition and etching.

Oxford Instruments is helping enable a greener economy, increased connectivity, improved health and leaps in scientific understanding. Their advanced products and services allow the world’s leading industrial companies and scientific research communities to image, analyze and manipulate materials down to the atomic and molecular level, helping to accelerate R&D, increase manufacturing productivity and make ground-breaking discoveries.

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Design could enable longer lasting, more powerful lithium batteries: Use of a novel electrolyte could allow advanced metal electrodes and higher voltages, boosting capacity and cycle life

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Home > Press > Design could enable longer lasting, more powerful lithium batteries: Use of a novel electrolyte could allow advanced metal electrodes and higher voltages, boosting capacity and cycle life

X-ray tomography images taken at Brookhaven National Lab show cracking of a particle in one electrode of a battery cell that used a conventional electrolyte (as seen on the left). The researchers found that using a novel electrolyte prevented most of this cracking (right).
Credits:Image: courtesy of the researchers
X-ray tomography images taken at Brookhaven National Lab show cracking of a particle in one electrode of a battery cell that used a conventional electrolyte (as seen on the left). The researchers found that using a novel electrolyte prevented most of this cracking (right).
Credits:Image: courtesy of the researchers

Abstract:
Lithium-ion batteries have made possible the lightweight electronic devices whose portability we now take for granted, as well as the rapid expansion of electric vehicle production. But researchers around the world are continuing to push limits to achieve ever-greater energy densities — the amount of energy that can be stored in a given mass of material — in order to improve the performance of existing devices and potentially enable new applications such as long-range drones and robots.

Design could enable longer lasting, more powerful lithium batteries: Use of a novel electrolyte could allow advanced metal electrodes and higher voltages, boosting capacity and cycle life


Cambridge, MA | Posted on March 26th, 2021

One promising approach is the use of metal electrodes in place of the conventional graphite, with a higher charging voltage in the cathode. Those efforts have been hampered, however, by a variety of unwanted chemical reactions that take place with the electrolyte that separates the electrodes. Now, a team of researchers at MIT and elsewhere has found a novel electrolyte that overcomes these problems and could enable a significant leap in the power-per-weight of next-generation batteries, without sacrificing the cycle life.

The research is reported today in the journal Nature Energy in a paper by MIT professors Ju Li, Yang Shao-Horn, and Jeremiah Johnson; postdoc Weijiang Xue; and 19 others at MIT, two national laboratories, and elsewhere. The researchers say the finding could make it possible for lithium-ion batteries, which now typically can store about 260 watt-hours per kilogram, to store about 420 watt-hours per kilogram. That would translate into longer ranges for electric cars and longer-lasting changes on portable devices.

The basic raw materials for this electrolyte are inexpensive (though one of the intermediate compounds is still costly because it’s in limited use), and the process to make it is simple. So, this advance could be implemented relatively quickly, the researchers say.

The electrolyte itself is not new, explains Johnson, a professor of chemistry. It was developed a few years ago by some members of this research team, but for a different application. It was part of an effort to develop lithium-air batteries, which are seen as the ultimate long-term solution for maximizing battery energy density. But there are many obstacles still facing the development of such batteries, and that technology may still be years away. In the meantime, applying that electrolyte to lithium-ion batteries with metal electrodes turns out to be something that can be achieved much more quickly.

The new application of this electrode material was found “somewhat serendipitously,” after it had initially been developed a few years ago by Shao-Horn, Johnson, and others, in a collaborative venture aimed at lithium-air battery development.

“There’s still really nothing that allows a good rechargeable lithium-air battery,” Johnson says. However, “we designed these organic molecules that we hoped might confer stability, compared to the existing liquid electrolytes that are used.” They developed three different sulfonamide-based formulations, which they found were quite resistant to oxidation and other degradation effects. Then, working with Li’s group, postdoc Xue decided to try this material with more standard cathodes instead.

The type of battery electrode they have now used with this electrolyte, a nickel oxide containing some cobalt and manganese, “is the workhorse of today’s electric vehicle industry,” says Li, who is a professor of nuclear science and engineering and materials science and engineering.

Because the electrode material expands and contracts anisotropically as it gets charged and discharged, this can lead to cracking and a breakdown in performance when used with conventional electrolytes. But in experiments in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory, the researchers found that using the new electrolyte drastically reduced these stress-corrosion cracking degradations.

The problem was that the metal atoms in the alloy tended to dissolve into the liquid electrolyte, losing mass and leading to cracking of the metal. By contrast, the new electrolyte is extremely resistant to such dissolution. Looking at the data from the Brookhaven tests, Li says, it was “sort of shocking to see that, if you just change the electrolyte, then all these cracks are gone.” They found that the morphology of the electrolyte material is much more robust, and the transition metals “just don’t have as much solubility” in these new electrolytes.

That was a surprising combination, he says, because the material still readily allows lithium ions to pass through — the essential mechanism by which batteries get charged and discharged — while blocking the other cations, known as transition metals, from entering. The accumulation of unwanted compounds on the electrode surface after many charging-discharging cycles was reduced more than tenfold compared to the standard electrolyte.

“The electrolyte is chemically resistant against oxidation of high-energy nickel-rich materials, preventing particle fracture and stabilizing the positive electrode during cycling,” says Shao-Horn, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering. “The electrolyte also enables stable and reversible stripping and plating of lithium metal, an important step toward enabling rechargeable lithium-metal batteries with energy two times that of the state-the-art lithium-ion batteries. This finding will catalyze further electrolyte search and designs of liquid electrolytes for lithium-metal batteries rivaling those with solid state electrolytes.”

The next step is to scale the production to make it affordable. “We make it in one very easy reaction from readily available commercial starting materials,” Johnson says. Right now, the precursor compound used to synthesize the electrolyte is expensive, but he says, “I think if we can show the world that this is a great electrolyte for consumer electronics, the motivation to further scale up will help to drive the price down.”

Because this is essentially a “drop in” replacement for an existing electrolyte and doesn’t require redesign of the entire battery system, Li says, it could be implemented quickly and could be commercialized within a couple of years. “There’s no expensive elements, it’s just carbon and fluorine. So it’s not limited by resources, it’s just the process,” he says.

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, and made use of facilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory.

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